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“There’s no App for that” should be RIM’s catch phrase for the Playbook

June 21, 2011

Thanks to my beautiful wife and daughter I got a Blackberry Playbook for Father’s Day. We already have an iPad and they thought the sharing was becoming a burden on the family…
Knowing that I am a BlackBerry person she decided to buy a Playbook instead of another iPad.

The initial setup was easy, but the first signs of trouble came when it connected to RIM to check for new updates.
The Playbook determined that there was a new version on the server, and started downloading it. The file was over 300 MB and the Playbook lost Wifi signal several times, delaying the download considerably.

I noticed that when the Playbook was flat on my desk the signal went down by a couple of bars, not as bad as the iPhone 4 but noticeable, and enough to cause the connection losses. So there I stood with the Playbook in hand until it finally downloaded the update file. It stared installing it, and after did a reboot. At this point I unplugged the device and went out.

Like any other Black Berry the Playbook takes FOREVER to boot, and when it was finally done it wanted me to connect to Wifi network and would not do anything else, or give me any option to continue. I was basically locked out!

So there I was stuck with a fresh new device searching for any open wireless network I could connect to. When I did find one, all the Playbook did was to give me a message thanking me for the upgrade. Well done RIM. Strike 1 – First impression: not good!

The second nightmare was installing the Blackberry Bridge software on my phone. I’m told by the Playbook that I need to go to the App World on the phone and download it, it even gave me a convenient QR code which, once scanned, opened the App World app on the phone. Easy. I was beginning to feel happy again, I could see my self doing all my corporate email, using my BBM, you know all that we love about our Blackberry phones.

That was not to be. Unfortunately, and to my utter amazement, AT&T does not allow RIM to provide the Blackberry Bridge app to its subscribers, and all I got was message saying that I was SOL!
Strike 2.

Now lets think about this for a moment. AT&T does not let RIM use messaging, calendar, BBM, and all the applications and services we love the Blackberries for. Why do I need a Playbook for?

As a consolation prize the Playbook came with 2 pre-installed games Need for Speed and Tetris. The first time I ran the Blackberry world app it told me that these needed updating so I clicked the button. Big mistake! The NFS download was almost 300MB and the Playbook kept loosing Wifi connection, so it took over 2h and several failed attempts to get that update installed.

That brings me to my last point, THERE’S NO APP FOR THAT!
Once running the Playbook is easy on the eyes, I liked the interface a lot, flash websites worked fine, but other than that there’s very few things to do with it. There are so few apps on the App World for the Playbook that the only parallel would be to compare it to the vast emptiness of the outer space. The claim that the Playbook runs Android apps had me excited, so I looked for a way to install the Android Market app so that I, at least could try those out, but no… no sir, RIM added one final hurdle to overcome. Developers need to submit their Apps to RIM so that they can approve, and add them to the Blackberry World.

Strike 3. The Playbook went back to the shelf at Best Buy.

Clearly this is a half-baked device, much like their recent phones, with a lot of limitations, installation problems, bugs (some pre-installed app for online video kept crashing) and above all no Bridge, ie, nothing Blackberry for AT&T subscribers.

The combination of very few consumer apps, and the inability to use the enterprise apps for which Blackberry is known for will kill this device faster than you can say Steve Jobs!


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  1. Eric Robert permalink

    You’re an idiot.

  2. Fin permalink

    The only problem I find is the lack of apps, but it is possible with some tech-skills to run ios apps and wifi could always be improved, but so can everything else. Stop taking it down, bridge is a great feature and boo-hoo if it doesn’t work for at&t (nobody cares).

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